It feels like cyberpunk has been on the agenda for a long time now, not least thanks to a certain game. Therefore is Scarlet Nexus a fresh breath in the somewhat obscure genre. Bandai Namcos new action role-playing games are namely “brainpunk”, a dystopian future world in which humans have developed psychic powers and strange monsters fall from the sky to chew brains. These monsters can only be defeated by a group of elite soldiers with strong forces and of course lurk intrigue beneath the surface that is just waiting to turn the world upside down.
We have had the pleasure of playing Scarlet Nexus remotely, a method that worked relatively smoothly but that makes it difficult to predict the game’s performance. We got to test the initial hours for both main characters Yuito and Kasane, level up and equip them with basic items. Of course, we fought lots of monsters and listened to several dialogue sequences. With solid experience of Japanese games, I can say that even though much feels familiar possesses Scarlet Nexus a unique setting that makes the game genuinely fascinating. Much like when you first see it Neon Genesis Evangelion. Big praise, I know, and on June 25 we will see if Bandai Namco successfully delivers a memorable experience.
A more realistic and comparable parable, on the other hand, is last year’s darling Astral Chain. Although Platinum Games action smokers focus on intense battles, it shares thematic similarities Scarlet Nexus. Both take place in a dystopian and high-tech future plagued by supernatural beings. With that said, however, I believe that Bandai Namco’s role-playing game has a sufficiently unique twist to justify its existence. Enough with parables and comparisons, now I will instead tell you why I look forward to Scarlet Nexus!
Psychic forces, teenagers and mutants from space
You shoulder the role of either Yuito Sumeragi, a kind-hearted descendant of a powerful and influential family; or Kasane Randall, a cool and protective big sister. Their stories are parallel and have similar points in the story but give different perspectives on the events. After only a few hours with the game, it is difficult to say how extensive the differences are, but it is understood that Kasane and Yuito have different driving forces. This gives the impression that Scarlet Nexus has a solid replay value, as you want to play both characters to experience the whole of the story. Perhaps most importantly, they differ in combat, where Yuito uses the classic katana and is strong against individual enemies while Kasane uses knives to quickly attack multiple opponents simultaneously.
Both Kasane and Yuito are youngsters who have recently joined the special elite force OSF. It is a unit of mentally strengthened soldiers with the task of fighting and countering the monsters that constantly fall from the sky to eat human brains. These monsters, called Others, are the hub of Scarlet Nexus mystery and probably the focus of the story. The young people surrounding Yuito and Kasane paint a familiar scenario from anime and games that draw inspiration from them. And here I am hopeful, as several of the characters give the impression of being reasonably complex and can contribute to a dynamic ensemble. It is my wish that the character portraits are not just the tired anime archetypes they appear to be at first glance.
The interactions between the characters take place in different layers, where the central and most important dialogues take place in image sequences that are reminiscent of visual novel games. These can nicely turn into movie sequences. Less important dialogues take place via radio communication, or rather a form of mental thought transmission. These dialogues take place as you explore the world or battle monsters. The least important dialogues take place side by side via text messages you find in a menu. While the fair is voluntary, however, you have limited time to respond and complete the conversation. Skilled voice actor gives life to the characters and maintains a high standard that is easy to take for granted.
Telekinesis is the name
Central to the game mechanics are the psychic powers possessed by the characters, which translates into violent attacks during battle. Everywhere in the environment there is debris of various kinds that can be picked up and thrown at enemies. This mechanic is combined with common attacks, counterattacks and other techniques to do damage to enemies. In addition, there are also sensitive points on larger enemies that require a little finesse and planning to defeat. To help you, you then have comrades with whom you can sink your brain to borrow their properties, Hanabi, for example, gives power effects to your attacks. Depending on which comrades you take with you in battle, you control your playing style, as effects such as injury resistance and speed have drastic effects on your potential. All these gears spin a combat system that is very entertaining. Throwing a van across the street and into the face of a monster is incredibly satisfying!
We did not have the opportunity to test how deep the character development or combat mechanics go and how it affects the game in the final stages. But we were able to skim through the various features that can be unlocked on the upgrade tree. In addition to percentage increases in health and injury, we find crucial combat traits such as double jumps and counterattacks. Add to that the opportunity to equip Yuito and Kasane with weapons and armor that strengthen them in different ways and you have the basic recipe for a solid role-playing game. Scarlet Nexus also includes modern features that allow you to dress the characters in costumes that do not affect the equipment – a welcome feature if it means you can get clothes in the game without having to open your wallet in a virtual store.
Perhaps the most detailed anime game
Scarlet Nexus strength is that it has a clear distinctive identity. The fiery yellow filter, the black and holographic red icons; the distorted monsters and all the telekinesis attacks. Scarlet Nexus is masterfully composed visually and a delight to the eyes! The environments, especially the urban environments, are full of details such as rubbish and billboards. The facades are worn, buildings are floating on the horizon and the sky is oily and speaks of a world that is reminiscent of ours but is drastically different. Scarlet Nexus has a strong attraction that attracts me. It arouses that curiosity I had twenty years ago when I first discovered “good” anime. The mystique surrounding the monsters and the world order around the protected capital is something I look forward to exploring further. That the game is then a robust role-playing game and fun action game is a thankful bonus!
Technically flowing Scarlet Nexus on fine during battle. Attacks are responsive and the animations are soft, which makes the action moments feel really polished. Stylish particle effects from special attacks and a cinematic camera that focuses on the events make the fighters engaging. Since the gaming sessions streamed from a computer, it is unclear how the performance on consoles will behave, but on PC looks Scarlet Nexus looks like a real next gen anime game!
My only real criticism is that a lot of interior design in the environments lacked physical boundaries. For example, I could walk through several park benches and lampposts, a shortcoming that damages the empathy in the otherwise exciting world. Otherwise, everything looked pretty finished and no other problems could be found. Scarlet Nexus really seems like a big investment, with an anime series in the work that will also be released this summer. I keep my fingers crossed that the release will be successful despite the circumstances in the world.
Try the demon
A demo will be added soon Scarlet Nexus available to the public. Xbox players will have access on May 21 and Playstation a week later on May 28. Take part in the introduction to the first boss, play as both Yuito and Kasane, try out their features and unlock digital content for the release.
Scarlet Nexus will be released on June 25 for Playstation 4 and 5, Xbox One and Series S / X, as well as for PC digitally.